Throughout the history of entertainment, there have been some characters so iconic that they cause a ripple in culture. One such character was that of Sonny Crockett from the also iconic 80s show, Miami Vice. The actor behind the role, Don Johnson, turned that role into a cultural representation.
That’s the kind of talent that Johnson has long been known for. The Hollywood Walk of Fame recipient has been active in the industry since 1969, and as of today he still has 3 movies in production. There’s no stopping Johnson, and that’s part of the reason why his net worth today is at $50 million. Let’s take a closer look into how Don Johnson has made his fortune over the years.
His Early life
Don Johnson came from the humblest beginnings. He was born Donnie Wayne Johnson on December 15, 1949 at Flat Creek, Missouri; his father was a farmer and his mother was a beautician. Johnson experienced poverty as young child growing up in Wichita, Kansas. Johnson began acting in high school through Wichita South High School’s theater program.
One of his first biggest acting projects was the lead role of West Side Story’s Tony, performed during his senior year at his school play. Upon his graduation in 1967, he enrolled at the University of Kansas with a major in theater.
His college career didn’t last long, however, as Johnson dropped out after only a year. His education would continue at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where Johnson moved soon after he left Kansas.
Don Johnson's Acting Career
It only took Johnson a couple of years in California before he landed his first big gig. He played the lead role in a LA stage production, which then led to his first film gig in 1970, The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart. That film may not have propelled Johnson to stardom, but it did lead into other paying roles and jobs.
Throughout the 70s, Johnson continued to work on various acting projects on all channels—stage, film, and television. In fact, Johnson had acting roles in 30 movies from that decade alone.
As the 80s came, Johnson started to get better roles in both film and television. However he started to get more traction on the TV platform, and his big break finally came in 1984. Johnson finally landed a starring role on a new police drama TV series, Miami Vice.Johnson starred in that show from 1984 until 1989. While working on that show, Johnson also continued to do other acting projects including guest starring in various shows, playing in TV movies, and even lending his voice to animated projects.
Post Miami Vice
After Miami Vice,Johnson did a series of movies including 1996’s Tin Cup.It was in 1996 when he came back to television again to take the title role in Nash Bridges.Johnson held played that role from 1996 until 2001. From his Nash Bridgesdays until today, Johnson starred in many successful films and various other TV projects. Some of his most popular films include Machete (2010), Django Unchained (2012), The Other Woman (2014), and Knives Out (2019). He has done a variety of genres throughout his film and television career, which totals to about 99 acting jobs—so far.
Don's Other roles
It’s clear that Don Johnson’s fortune largely comes from his acting career, but that’s not all the actor did or was capable of. Johnson has also served as a producer and/or executive producer for many projects.
He even has a couple of director credits for a couple of TV projects he did, including 4 Miami Vice episodes. Apart from these credits, Johnson has also written the Nash Bridges TV movie that’s slated to come out in the next year or so.
Don Johnson's Career as a Musician
In addition to producing, directing, and writing, Johnson has also supplied several film and TV projects with music for their soundtracks. Johnson happens to be an established musician. He worked with the Allman Brothers in the 70s to co-write a couple of songs.
Johnson released two pop albums in the 80s, and one of his singles even made it to the #5 spot on Billboard—Heartbeat. He has also done a duet with former girlfriend and superstar singer Barbara Streisand in 1988. The song was called Till I Loved You, and it was a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release.
His Personal life
Don Johnson has had a prolific career on stage, television, film, and even music. His continued work today is proof of how passionate he is about what he does. However, entertainment wasn’t Johnson’s only pursuit. He’s also a fan of powerboat racing, and he was actually crowned 1988’s World Powerboat Champion.
If not for his acting career, Johnson is also known for his personal life and relationships. One of his most controversial and famous relationships was with fellow actor, Melanie Griffith. Griffith and Johnson conceived a daughter together, Dakota, who is now successfully following her parents footsteps into acting. It seems as if Dakota also inherited her father's musical skill. Johnson has a total of 5 children including Dakota.
Don Johnson's Legal Issues
Johnson’s life had seen quite a bit of controversy—and not just on screens either. He has had some money problems in the past. There was a time when he was accused of money laundering. In 2008, his Colorado home got foreclosed, but he was able to pay off his $14.5 million debt within hours. In 2010, Johnson has also had to deal with copyright issues against Rysher Entertainment. Eventually, the suit was settled after Rysher paid Johnson a sum of $19 million. Don Johnson has worked hard and played hard throughout his career, and his net worth is testament to all that he’s accomplished. We’re likely to see some changes on that number, as Johnson continues to do more work in the years to come.
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Written by Allen Lee
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